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Low water, drought doesn’t 
call for dredging Crystal Lake

CRYSTAL LAKE – The water level at the city’s namesake lake is low, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to dredge, park officials said.

Residents at last week’s annual lake meeting asked the Crystal Lake Park District to take advantage of low water caused by this summer’s drought to clean up the lake.

But it’s not that easy, Park District Executive Director Jason Herbster said.

Low water doesn’t give the district access to dredge, not to mention that it’s at least a nine- to 12-month process to get permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, he said. And once material is removed from the lake, it has to be tested before it can be dumped.

The district may look at dredging “somewhere down the road,” Herbster said.

As of Oct. 3, the water level was 2 feet 5½ inches below where it should be, he said. But it’s not the first time water levels have been so low. Most recently, they were in 2005 and 1989.

“The bottom line is the drought is what it is,” Herbster said. “There is nothing we can do to control it. It’s an act of Mother Nature, and we just have to roll with it.”

The lake is “in good shape” and appears to be healthy. But besides low water, the park district this summer battled weeds in the lake and an E. coli outbreak.

Main beach was closed for two days after a large flock of geese and their feces caused E. coli levels to rise.

To mitigate weeds, the park district will continue treating the public beaches and the notoriously weed-heavy west end of the lake, Herbster
said.

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